Course design, teaching practice and the learner experience

Much effort, creativity, resource and research has gone into devising transferable processes to enable course teams to design for effective learning in HE. CAIeRO has been Northampton’s approach for the past 10 years. The Why CAIeRO research report, released in May 2018, captures some of the key findings from the perspective of participants. The process itself is an adaptation of Gilly Salmon’s Carpe Diem model. Other approaches include UCL’s ABC learning design workshop and Oxford Brookes’ Intensives. A strapline we often use in association with CAIeRO is design for engagement, deliver for participation.

What these learning design processes have in common is an explicit intention to enable staff, in collaboration with students and other stakeholders, to design student-centred, participative, engaging and inclusive modules and programmes for different modes of study. Our Learning Design team has produced a number of very useful blog posts about the process and its practicalities. At Northampton, CAIeRO has been a key tool that has enabled us to redesign our modules to Active Blended Learning (ABL). At the time of writing this, 97% of our modules have been designed following the principles of ABL.

The question that arises is this: does the team-based (re-)design exercise predicated by these approaches translate into student-centred, collaborative teaching practice? Academic teams may have completed thorough and arguably successful design or redesign processes, but when it comes to “making it count” for the student, teaching practices may not always reflect the core principles agreed during the design phase. In other words, in Northampton’s case, despite the team’s best efforts during a CAIeRO workshop, some colleagues may not capitalise on the benefits of this design in terms of their teaching practice, rendering that effort of limited value for the students.

Our Twitter #LTHEChat on Wednesday 20th June from 20:00 to 21:00 hs BST will invite participants to reflect on six key questions focusing on the interface between course design and teaching practice, how to address the gaps between the two and what getting this right means for students and staff.

 

Prof Alejandro (Ale) Armellini
Dean of Learning and Teaching
University of Northampton
@alejandroa

 

CAIeRO research report 2018

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